Guest post: Tackling the linen closet

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Kelly and Katie McMenamin are two sisters who run a home and life organization service called Pixies Did It. Their philosophy: if your life is not organized around your own habits and personality, it won’t run smoothly. Here, Kelly takes on a subject that I, for one, find terrifying: organizing the linen closet


Every once in a while, I’m tempted to try to be someone I’m not. Someone carefree and able to ignoreto do’s. Yesterday, I felt like watching TV all day but knew I couldn’t as I had writing to do. I thought, Hey, I know! I’ll be like my sister & business partner, Kate. I’ll finish my writing while simultaneously watching TV. So, I tried to write this bit while watching movies all afternoon. I didn’t get farther than a few sentences and had to keep rewinding the movies. End result: I neither enjoyed the movies nor experienced the joy of crossing off Write blog from my to-do list.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot be someone else. I work and then play, not because I’m virtuous or have superior willpower to Kate, but because it’s easier for me this way. If I don’t do it in this order, I don’t get work done and then I’m anxious and unhappy. That’s it. That’s the only reason.

I like to keep my house tidy because I can’t relax if there is obvious work in front of me, i.e., junk everywhere screaming to be put away. I’ll honestly never know how people can truly relax amidst genuine clutter. I can tolerate things temporarily but eventually it grates on me and I must find a home for something.

So now you are probably wondering how anyone like me could possibly have problems with organizing.

First, I am often super busy and therefore don’t always have the time to properly organize my belongings and the constant inflow (that’s when I start to stuff junk behind closet & cupboard doors or under the bed to avoid seeing it). Second, I get such euphoria from getting things done that I sometimes cut corners to get to the finish line.

My house almost always looks good on the outside but if you dig deeper into cupboards, closets or drawers, they are often in disarray. Part of this is because I’m busy but it also feeds into my impatience with getting things done. I often don’t take the extra time to plan out how to properly organize all of the various nooks.

When I first set up my linen closet, I did the bare minimum, a shelf for towels, a shelf with three wicker bins for mostly vitamins/pills, plus hair supplies, lotions and miscellaneous bath type stuff because I had nowhere else to put them. I knew where everything went even if it wasn’t immediately obvious to an outsider, a closet that could neither be commended nor ridiculed but one that was often annoying to me.

There was the time I was searching for Tylenol, couldn’t find it so thought I didn’t have any and bought some more only to find the old (full) bottle hidden underneath something the next week. One bottle of Tylenol is obviously no big deal in the grand scheme of things but add this up over time and it gets annoying.

As you can see when it comes to setting up organizational systems, my personality type sacrifices quality for completion. With the linen closet, I didn’t want to take the extra time to sit down, measure the shelves, figure out what height the towel shelves should be, if baskets might make it easier to get the towels in and out, what things I could buy to make more distinct homes and empty space for everything I would eventually need to jam into the closet. As a result, it wasn’t the most useful closet. But, once I sat down with my sister and redid my closet, I finally got it right.

Kate’s personality type enjoys process more than mine and isn’t in as much of a rush as I am to get er done. She took the time to think about what I wanted to keep and retrieve from the closet, what made the most sense and then she tried a myriad of solutions to narrow in on the right configuration. Now, everything is easy to put away, retrieve, and makes sense to all who use it. I have baskets for folding items, heavy items down low, lighter items up high and then a plethora of labeled drawers for all of my pills and extra toiletries and it is indeed a closet to be envied.

3 thoughts on “Guest post: Tackling the linen closet

  1. That looks absolutely fantastic! I need something like this for my whole apartment! What a great service. Ahhh… how nice to have it all organized. Woo hoo!

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